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Dr. John: Happy 'healthy' holidays!

5:22 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
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But even as you're digging into the turkey, mashed potatoes or pie there are some healthy choices you can make that will still ensure a great meal.

The turkey itself comes with a variety of options, which basically boil down to white or dark meat. Turkey lovers fall on both sides of the "which one is best" spectrum. When it comes to healthy choices though, white meat is the big winner.

A slice of white meat has less calories and fat than a similar size slice of dark meat. When picking side dishes, sweet potato casserole has more antioxidants and vitamins but the green potato pick will have less calories.

When it comes to dessert, the pumpkin pie seems to be one of the healthier picks. It has less calories and fat than the apple pie, mainly because of the apple pies double crust. Of course if you do what most of us do and completely cover either pie with whipped cream then all bets are off!

As for the most popular drinks, indulging in a glass of red wine can actually do your heart some good. Red wine has plenty of resveratrol, an antioxidant that has been shown to improve heart health.

Recent studies have also found that resveratrol in the wine can also help make prostate cancer cells more sensitive to radiation treatment. Of course, moderation here is the name of the game. Two glasses for men and one for women daily, including Thanksgiving, give you your best health boost.

But besides the food, Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays can also be a time of high stress. It's one big reason why deaths from heart problems peak this time of the year, with the biggest days being Christmas and new years.

There are a number of other reasons this could be happening. One is that people with symptoms of heart trouble before the holidays tend to put off going to their doctor until after the holidays. They don't want to spoil everyone's special time so they just wait. That's one of the worst things you can do for your heart.

Also, during the holidays, many of us tend to take a break from diet and exercise routines. It's easy to find an excuse not to work out, and with food everywhere it's hard to stick to healthy eating. Unfortunately, excessive food and alcohol consumption can lead to something called "holiday heart syndrome."

But by taking care of yourself during this holiday season, especially by getting checked out if you are having any heart symptoms, you can make sure this holiday remains fun and festive for everyone. And remember, not everything will be perfect and not everyone will get along. What seems like a disaster this year will be something you end up laughing about over the years to come. So just enjoy the holidays for what they are, a time to get together.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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